NHAI withdraws Rs 957-crore Southern Bypass project : The Tribune India

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NHAI withdraws Rs 957-crore Southern Bypass project

Big blow of infrastructure development as authorities fail to take possession of land, disburse compensation

NHAI withdraws Rs 957-crore Southern Bypass project

Photo for representational purpose only. - File photo



Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 15

In a major blow to the infrastructure development, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has withdrawn the approval granted to construct the much-awaited 25.24-km-long Southern Ludhiana Bypass for want of land, officials have confirmed.

Aimed to decongest city roads

  • While the physical possession of almost 100 hectares of acquired land has already been taken over and handed over to the NHAI by the district administration, the proceedings to complete acquisition for the remaining 80.58 hectares of land, which constitutes 44.77 per cent of the total land requirement, could not be completed
  • This big ticket infrastructure development project was planned to decongest the busy internal and external arteries of the industrial and business hub of the North

Reason: The physical possession of the land acquired for the project could not be obtained and even the approved compensation amount could not be disbursed even over two years after the big ticket project was approved on June 2, 2022. Earlier, the construction company, who was selected and awarded the work, had refused to undertake the work and had left the project.

The development assumes significance as this six-lane Greenfield highway project to be built at the cost of Rs 956.94 crore had been hanging fire for the past over two years due to the non-availability of land following the stiff resistance by the landowners to part away with their landholdings under acquisition, officials have said.

While the physical possession of almost 100 hectares of acquired land has already been taken over and handed over to the NHAI by the district administration, the proceedings to complete acquisition for the remaining 80.58 hectares of land, which constitutes 44.77 per cent of the total land requirement, could not be completed.

While the district administration has claimed that the physical possession of 80 per cent of the requisite land had already been handed over to the NHAI/ contractor, which was mandatory to begin the construction work, the NHAI blamed that there was an inordinate delay in handing over the possession of the land.

The Rajya Sabha MP from Ludhiana, Sanjeev Arora, told The Tribune, on Saturday that the NHAI has withdrawn the letter of approval (LOA) granted for the project, citing the delay in handing over the possession of the land as the main reason.

He was briefed by the NHAI that only Rs 198.42 crore of the total Rs 323.06 crore compensation amount declared for land acquisition was disbursed and the physical possession of 19.74-km of the total 25.24-km land required for the project was obtained so far.

“The disbursement and physical possession of land needs to be expedited by the District Revenue Officer (DRO) and the land in Rajgarh village needs to be handed over, which was taking a long time,” the NHAI said.

However, the DRO Gurjinder Singh said physical possession of over 80 per cent of the acquired land had already been handed over to the NHAI/ contractor, which even failed to sustain the same.

“The district administration, led by the Deputy Commissioner, has been making all out efforts to resolve the pending issues pertaining to the project at the earliest,” he claimed.

Taking up the matter, the MP called on the NHAI Chief General Manager (CGM) in New Delhi recently and impressed upon him to take immediate requisite steps to restore the project.

“I have been assured that the NHAI will take up the issue on priority to reconsider withdrawal of LOA,” Arora said.

Besides Ceigall India Limited with the lowest bid quoted price of Rs 702 crore, Varindera Constructions Rs 768 crore, Megha Engineering and Infrastructures Rs 811 crore and GR Infraprojects had quoted the bid price of Rs 851 crore.

“I have urged the NHAI top brass to do the needful for restoring the project at the earliest as 80 per cent of total land required for the project has already been handed over,” he said, while adding that the process to take over the remaining land will also be completed shortly.

To get it restored: MP

“I would impress upon the highway authority to restore the project at the earliest and ensure that the entire land required is made available without any further delay. Besides increased road landscaping and safety features, the project was planned to enhance connectivity between rural and urban areas,” Sanjeev Arora, Rajya Sabha MP.

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